South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)

Date from 11 October 1899
Date to 31 May 1902
Collection type Conflict
Scope note From the time of its acquisition by Britain during the Napoleonic wars, southern Africa had been shared between British colonies and independent republics of Dutch–Afrikaner settlers, known as Boers. Throughout the 19th century the two powers had maintained a wary co-existence, although increasingly the question became whether Britain or the Boers should control southern Africa. The two had already fought an inconclusive war in 1880. The discovery of gold and diamonds in the Boer republics in the 1880s intensified rivalry. British imperial ambition and Boer independence caused more friction, which in 1899 provoked the Boers to attack in order to forestall what they saw as an impending British conquest.